Any-Other-Business

Barometerrss

28 February 2015

Golden league Some MPs who earn Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s rate of £5,000 a day: — Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury): £3,333 for four hours work as deputy chairman of Woburn Energy.… Read more

Rifle Lesson

21 February 2015

Gun lords The House of Lords shooting range is to be turned into a cupboard, having previously survived an attempt by Labour MPs in 1997 to turn it into a… Read more

14 February 2015

Watching brief Samsung warned users of its voice-activated televisions that what they said in front of the TV could be transmitted to other people. The story attracted comparison with the… Read more

7 February 2015

Right Boot, left Boot What would Jesse Boot, who built Britain’s largest chemist chain from his father’s herbal shops, made of the spat between Labour and Stefano Pessina, chief executive… Read more

(Photo: Keystone/Getty)

31 January 2015

Female bishops The Reverend Libby Lane was ordained as Bishop of Stockport, the Church of England’s first female bishop. — By the time the first 32 female C of E… Read more

24 January 2015

Poor data Oxfam complained of an ‘inequality explosion’, citing an estimate that by next year 1 per cent of the world’s population will own half the wealth, but little other… Read more

17 January 2015

Not Charlie Some cases which make Britain a pretty poor champion of free speech: — In 2005 Bristol pub landlord Leroy Trought was given an Asbo and told to remove… Read more

10 January 2015

Teen queens The Duke of York denied allegations in court papers that he had had sexual relations with a girl in Florida aged 17, below the age of consent there.… Read more

3 January 2015

Election omens Reasons for Ed Miliband to feel confident in 2015: — Only three parliaments since 1945 have run to their full five-year term. The subsequent general elections, in 1964,… Read more

13 December 2014

Marking a century Some things which celebrate their 100th birthday in 2015: 3-D films The first was shown at the Astor Theater in New York on 10 June, featuring the… Read more

6 December 2014

A fatal shot The sad death of Australian batsman Philip Hughes was a reminder that a cricket ball can kill. A blow on the cricket field may even have cost… Read more

29 November 2014

Dear Santas A £22.50 a head Christmas theme park in Warwickshire designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen closed temporarily for improvements after visitors complained of mud, a skinny, swearing Father Christmas and… Read more

22 November 2014

Yeah, Bob, they know The answer to the rhetorical question posed by the Band Aid single, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’, is broadly yes. Christmas Day is a public holiday… Read more

15 November 2014

States of criminality A 90-year-old Florida man feeding the homeless was arrested under a Fort Lauderdale law which makes it illegal to share food with members of the public. Other… Read more

8 November 2014

Space to dream Richard Branson’s dream of commercial space flights has suffered a setback after a prototype craft crashed. But others are still offering opportunities for adventure… — Golden Spike… Read more

1 November 2014

What’s special about Rochester What is special about Rochester and Strood? — Rochester has the second oldest cathedral and school in Britain, after Canterbury. — Medway, the unitary authority area… Read more

18 October 2014

Dirty dancing David Cameron was accused of causing racial offence by posing with blacked-up Morris dancers, though it was pointed out that the tradition dates from 16th-century jobless labourers covering… Read more

A Norwegian troll – not a Swedish one

11 October 2014

How to deal with a troll In Scandinavian mythology, trolls were shady creatures who lived below ground and varied in size from giants (in Iceland) to dwarfs (in Sweden). They… Read more

Empress Josephine of France

4 October 2014

Paisley power Paisley pyjamas were in the news. While associated with the town in Renfrewshire, whose mills produced the patterns from 1805, what we know as paisley was first popularised in France thanks… Read more

A cannabis plant growing in a garden in Cologne, Germany. (Photo: OLIVER BERG/AFP/Getty Images)

27 September 2014

Pot plants A 65-year-old Devon woman rang a BBC gardening show to enquire about a mystery plant only to be told it was a cannabis plant. Some other places cannabis plants have… Read more

(Photo: Stefan Heunis/Getty)

20 September 2014

Draconian sentence Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius was cleared of murder but convicted of culpable homicide, the equivalent of manslaughter in English law. — The concept of a lesser charge of killing without intent… Read more

13 September 2014

Birth of a nation A reminder of how England and Scotland came to be one country: — Proposals had been made throughout the 17th century, with English Whigs generally in… Read more

6 September 2014

In poor taste US Ambassador Matthew Barzun attracted the ire of chefs for complaining that he had been served lamb and potatoes too often since arriving in Britain. Some others… Read more

30 August 2014

Not in their name The BBC decided to start calling the Islamic terror group Isis by the acronym IS instead. Some organisations who are retaining the name: — Isis Equity… Read more

Workers carry out cleaning and maintenance work on the clock face of Big Ben in 2007 (Photo: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

23 August 2014

Tough at the top The clocks on Big Ben were cleaned by abseiling window-cleaners. Some other big cleaning/painting jobs: — Repainting the Forth Railway Bridge used to be a metaphor… Read more